This weekend, it was five years since Rob and I (Rachel) were married on an exceedingly hot August day. A dear friend from university gave the following reading at our wedding:
Blessing of the Hands
These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.
These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.
These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind.
These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.
These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.
These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.
And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.
Little did I know how true these words would be when we chose this reading for our wedding. The last five years have been full of both happiness and sorrow; of joy and of pain. We first experienced pregnancy loss in 2013 in the silence of a missing heartbeat at our ten week ultrasound. We held hands in that dark room as the doctor told us that our baby had no heartbeat. We experienced the sheer joy that came with the birth of our son Gabriel in 2014. We held him and rocked him; this little miracle whose hands we now hold tightly as we guide him through life. Our hands held our newborn son Aaron as he entered and left this world so quickly. These hands have wiped away many tears of disappointment, sorrow and joy in the past five years.
The hands of our friends and families have also been integral to keeping our marriage together over the past five years. The hands of these people have prepared many meals for us, written or typed notes of encouragement and have lifted us up in prayer. The hands of these family members and friends have helped us organize Aaron’s Butterfly Run, sewn butterfly wings and have lifted up when we couldn’t stand.
As we celebrate our anniversary, we are so thankful for the past eight years together. They have been hard and amazing years and we are so blessed to have each other. I won't sugarcoat the truth. These past five years have been the most challenging years of my life. Loss has dramatically changed both Rob and I. Parenting a toddler is more difficult than I had ever imagined, but is so rewarding. The help from our friends, families and counselling services from Roger Neilson House have helped get me back on my feet through this grief journey.
Matt from Green Tea Photography did an amazing job with our our wedding day photos and we wanted five year anniversary photos in the same spot. Ariane DL Photographe generously donated a photography package to the Silent Auction which we won. She beautifully captured our family including an ultrasound photo of Aaron and a butterfly in memory of our first pregnancy lost at 10 weeks. It was important to me to incorporate all of the members of our family in the photos.